Theater Student Cleans Up with Role on Soap Opera

Posted: February 10, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

John Driscoll

By Tara Laskowski

It’s tough being a television star. John Driscoll is discovering this in his new role as Henry “Coop” Cooper Bradshaw on Guiding Light. There’s his sister, for starters—on trial for a murder she didn’t commit. And his love interest is a member of the family his family has had a longstanding rivalry with, causing him to worry if his decision to return home after eight years was really not the best one.

Driscoll, a theater major at Mason, joined the cast of Guiding Light last year after an exhaustive audition process. If you’d asked him his freshman year when he was jumping in huge snow piles around President’s Park, Driscoll would have never suspected any of this could happen. In fact, it is only when he turns on his television and sees himself on one of the most popular daytime soap operas in the United States that he really believes it.

This type of work is not new to him. In his senior year of high school, Driscoll signed with a Washington, D.C., modeling agency and did modeling shows for internationally known designers such as Armani and Versace. While at Mason, Driscoll also nabbed roles in hit television series such as Dawson’s Creek and One Tree Hill. His television break came in the summer of his freshman year when Driscoll got a role on the WB show Young Americans. “My first role on national television was asking Kate Bosworth to dance and getting shot down. My family and fraternity brothers at Mason will never let me live that down,” he says with a laugh.

Last summer, Driscoll decided to take a year off from school and move to New York to open up his opportunities. While it was a big risk, Driscoll was willing to give it a try—and the audition for the soap opera seemed like a great opportunity. But the producers called him and gave him some bad news—he hadn’t gotten the role. “I was really upset, but then they said they had some good news, too. They said they liked my audition so much that even though I wasn’t right for the role they were looking for, they were going to create a whole new character for me,” says Driscoll.

Thus, “Coop” joined the cast of Guiding Light,and Driscoll has signed on for a three-year contract with the show. While acting sounds like a glamorous job, Driscoll has a rigorous schedule and only two weeks vacation a year. Though they film about one month in advance, Driscoll often has to memorize a script with less than 24-hours notice. “It’s a lot of memorizing. You have to think on your feet and go with your gut instinct. It’s challenging, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Driscoll credits his success as a television actor to many of the professors he worked with at Mason. He worked on many productions at the university, both on stage and behind the scenes. He appeared in The Odd Couple, The Vagina Monologues, and Dangerous Liaisons, and says that the exercises on analysis and character building that he learned at Mason often come into play during filming.

Driscoll is proud of his accomplishments, but doesn’t let it go to his head. “It’s really weird to see yourself on television. It’s true that you are your own worst critic, but I try not to be too hard on myself. It’s an awesome adventure, and right now I just want to enjoy myself and see where this all leads.”

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